It is easy to learn how to fish crabs and introduce them to your children.

  1. First, make sure you know the crabbing regulations in your area, what species you can catch, and what the catch limits are. You will also need valid fishing licenses for adults and older children.
  2. Your state regulations will specify what type of equipment is legal, whether it’s crab traps, purse seines, lifting rings, casting nets, or hand lines. Or a combination of techniques. You can usually get this information from your state’s department of game and fish.
  3. One of the easiest ways for children to learn to crab is by using a lifting ring. It is basically a woven nylon net attached to 2 rings of different sizes, with a rope to lower it into the water. Prime the net, lower it into the water, have a little patience, dinner on the table!
  4. For really young children, make lines with your hands. It is like a fishing rod of yesteryear. Pick up a 4 ‘long stick, tie a 4’ long string. Tie a chicken neck to the other end of the rope and lower it into the water. A crab will grab the chicken’s neck and hold it. Just pull it up and out. Use a reed net to harvest it.
  5. Bring along a good lawn or camping chair, a book for yourself, a fun game for the kids, and a small cooler to put your catch, in case the crabs aren’t hungry and the action is in short supply.
  6. Use the right baits. Crabs such as pieces of squid or fish. Chicken is also in their diet. Buy and cut the cheap pieces: backs, wings, collars, and the like. A slightly “off” bait will do wonders: crabs locate their food by smell.
  7. Harvest crabs from coastal streams and rivers, or just offshore in bay areas or on the beach. A lift ring is perfect for learning how to fish for crabs on the bank of a stream or on a pier.
  8. The best times to fish for crabs are a warm summer morning with a storm and low tide.
  9. Teaching children to crab is easy. The hard part is cooking. Steaming is a good way to cook crabs. You will need a large pot with a lid and a steaming insert. Steamed crabs are done when they turn red (about 20 minutes).
  10. Eating crabs is tricky and fun. You will need to break the legs, so have a mallet, hammer, or claw tool handy. You can eat the meat from the legs or the body cavity, but be sure to get rid of the organs.

With a little foresight, teaching kids to crab is easy. From buying the bait, making or buying the equipment, baiting the trap of their choice, transporting that first grumpy creature, cooking, and (yum!) Eating their catch, kids will have a blast and create fond memories for them. in the next few years when Mom and Dad taught them how to fish crabs.

(c) 2010 Richard S. Freeland